Cool stuff from ICAST, 5-second ICAST tour, Dean Rojas froggin’ insights

Back from ICAST, still catchin’ up so a little shorter deal today. ICAST was friggin’ GREAT as usual. Lot of cool new stuff, some stuff changing, way too much to be includin’ in this Blaster so expect it to keep on goin’!

Side note to the industry peeps — thinking pretty seriously about doing our own bass fishing ICAST awards next year, for obvious reasons, and in a different way than ICAST does it….

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

Today’s Top 3

Top trends, things, whatever from ICAST.

Just my 2c, no particular order:

1. Ned is king (this year)

If you’re in the tackle biz and NOT jumpin’ on the Ned rigwagon, you’re crazier than this dude:

[Cat looks like he’s over such pics…lol.]

Lots of good Ned stuff at the show, my faves will be in the next Blaster.

2. Line is the new rod

Last few years everyone has been coming out with rods, and honestly, it’s pretty tough to find a bad rod now at any price point. Since that’s done (sorta), now/soon there’ll be a lot more line, some of which might stand the test of fishin’ time but some won’t. Let’s face it — line ain’t nothin’ to cheap out on.

Will all this competition make higher-end lines cheaper? Doubt it. What would be the point of that?

3. All of a sudden trolling motor reliability is a thing (again)

Older bass-heads might remember the days of keeping a spare small motor in a rod box. Not saying we’re back there, but here’s the deal:

> 2 brand new trolling motors (Lowrance, Garmin)

> Okay 1 more new one (MotorGuide Tour Pro and Tour)

> 1 “must have”/”known quantity” brand (Minn Kota)

Far as I’ve heard, the new-new motors have NOT been seriously tested at all or much by top pros or, for that matter, guides. Pretty much the same situation with the new MotorGuides, and the Xi5s didn’t exactly light it up.

Please don’t read anything negative into that, just saying they need to prove themselves (duh).

WAY too much about trollers to include here, but more comin’. Word is Power-Pole is supposed to come out with one too — guess that means we’ll have at least 5 choices.

Btw the new ones ain’t cheap!

4. The economy’s still up…

When you see so many new products/SKUs, and new apparel brands with big booths, you gotta think times are pretty darn good — and folks/funds with $$$ are dabblin’ in our little corner of the world. So the mood was good at ICAST, decent number of folks there too.

Side note: Seemed like fewer cooler companies, and maybe even fewer sunglass companies, this year. Apparel and maybe kayaks were up.

Reminds me: Will there be a shake-up in bassin’ shades? Costa lost some good fishing marketing folks and is just one of several brands owned by a giant company. Love the Aussie Mako shades but not sure if they’ll break through. Lots of other brands — is this an opportunity for one to step up in bassin’?

Stopped by the Smith booth, seemed like they had some serious feeshn glasses. Never seen ’em before — anyone have a pair, pls lmk what you think.

My top ICAST moments.

Probly forgettin’ some but:

Most jaw-dropping moment — The Rapala guys told me this story about Jacob Wheeler fishing the new VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble this year…sounded crazy. Soon after, guess who walks by (setup?? lol). Asked J-Wheels about it, and sho nuff he swore it was true: Sometimes you can use that treble to tell the bass where to bite. More on that in a future Blaster, along with another shocker from Rapala/VMC:

One dude I wanted to meet moment — Finally tracked down Hideki Maeda, inventor of the Teckel Sprinker and other baits. Very cool dude, and REALLY appreciate the folks from Japan (including the pros) learnin’ English as well as they do. Gotta think it’d be as hard for us to learn to speak Japanese so it’s no small deal. More on that visit soon, but here’s one tiddy bit — do you see the dog profile behind us?

One dude I admired moment — John Crews. Saw him, as the Missile Baits head mang, do something a lot of folks in the biz wouldn’t. Very cool. Now if he could just come out with good flippin’ and Ned baits…hahaha Crews!

Best hat moments — Got two of the best lids at the show. Matt “On ‘Em” Robertson gifted me one o’ his (get ’em here), and John Nida at Fish Head Spin — which has one of the coolest hat collections of any brand) — did the same. Check out for those (can’t link it):

Tried to score one of Davy Hite’s American flag hats too…still working on it….

Most God moment — You knew there had to be at least one! That’s how I try to roll, sometimes poorly but…. Checked into the hotel, got my key, ran into some folks in the lobby, talked about Jesus for the next 2 hours. GREAT way to start, and check out

Most surprised moment — While getting the rundown of the new MotorGuide Tour motors…easily picked up the motor (yanking on the cord) with one hand/not much effort. Crazy cool.

Most surprised and ticked off moment — FL salty guide was telling me he and other guides get followed by drones when they’re weaving their way back to inshore honey holes, then the drone dudes sell the routes and points. And word is you can’t shoot a drone outta the sky because it’s a FAA-registered “aircraft.” I smell a dang lawsuit…and in the meantime, hope all states include drones and any remote-operated devices in their illegal/harassment regs. Dang!!

Most confusing moment — Listening to 2 yak bassers talkin’ yaks. Literally had no idea — it’s a totally different deal over yonder, which I guess you’d expect….

Second-most confusing moment — Ott DeFoe couldn’t be there but managed to manipulate me into buyin’ one of his Ott BUFFs. Not sure how that happened but I’m out $10 and have no recollection of anything between 9:15 and 9:25 a.m. Thursday morn…heehee!

Most awkward moment — Walking into the Z-Man booth and saying, “Hey guys, show me some of your new…TRDs….” HAHAHA!

Most disturbing moment — Finding out that fishing IS a crime (or could be) was weird, but then watching that pat-down was a little awkward:

Hahaha! That’s of course Jared Lintner at the Ritual Rods booth. Have not fished ’em but Jared swears they’re the real deal and has ’em at a price point realistic for many.

Funnest vid I saw — Check the new Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider. On “land” but tied on fishing line and lookin’ real — thanks to Elitist Matt Arey for the vid:

Here’s you your 5-sec/10-min ICAST tour!

As usual, here’s the BassBlaster ICAST tour in 5-second clips — because that’s all the time you need man! Big thanks to my bud Cody for shooting a bunch of these and slammin’ ’em all together, and another big thanks to all the famous guys for doin’ ’em. Apologies to any pros/companies we missed — literally impossible to get everyone but we did try!

It’s the quickest, funnest, bass-only ICAST vid you’ll see, period! Didn’t do the math on how many 5-second vids it takes to get to 10 minutes, but doesn’t matter cuz it goes quick:


1. CA: Tourney benefiting sick infant THIS WEEKEND…

…on Clear Lake, Sunday.

2. MI: Bass boat hit on Morrison…

…luckily sounds like the bass-heads are okay:

> …a speed-style boat was attempting to pull a skier up out of the water when the boat struck a bass-fishing boat with 2 fishermen aboard. The fishermen were able to jump into the water just prior to the crash to avoid injury and they were rescued by another nearby boater.

Here’s the boat pic that was with the post:

3. Elitist Scott Canterbury likes smaller Elite field.

Smaller than the FLW Tour:

> “…fishing in a field of only 75 guys instead of 170 makes a big difference because I can have a pattern and run around a lot easier. Being able to fish fresh water that hasn’t been beaten up so much has helped.”

4. NY: Here’s why St. Lawrence smallies are huge.

Elitist Lee Livesay shot of a giant goby. If you ate one of those a day, you’d be a tub too:

5. Why is there no video of this race??

I’m SURE peeps would pay to see it:

6. How MDJ stays in shape on the road.

Burpees are killer man….

7. What BPTer would make the best boat official?

No clear pick but some good’ns in that vid! Gotta say — Biffle, Swindle, Kriet, Watson would be the most entertainin’ of those mentioned….

8. FLWer Matt Reed on BassEdge Radio.

9. Erie: Don’t fish the scum.

Cuz it’s bad algae:

> “People don’t want to be fishing in scummy water. If you have scum concentrations, the toxin can cause skin irritations, rashes and other problems.”

10. AL: God is Bigger tourney looking for sponsors.

Logan Martin in Sept.

11. ON: Round goby found in Rideau Canal…

…which I think connects to the Ottawa River?

12. NC: Lowrance has new C-Map card for NC.

Not on TW yet but I assume they’re a-comin’ — here’s what TW has now.

13. CA: Watch out for bogus license sales websites.

Make sure you look before you click….

14. Yammy’s having a summer sale deal (ish).

15. Euro company testing a diesel outboard.

6 cyl, 2 turbo BMW motor making 300 hp:

> …should consume about 40% less [fuel?] than a comparable 300-hp gas outboard. The company also claims that carbon dioxide will be reduced by more than 35% and carbon monoxide will be cut by 99% while nitrous oxide will be decreased by 70%.

Tip of the Day

Frog-fishing insights from Dean Rojas.

From a convo we had a while back:

> Fave colors: “Black — anything with black in it. Brown is excellent too, and green. Real frogs aren’t black, but a lot of times I don’t think the fish think it’s a frog. They just know some little creature’s up there crawling around. Black helps them key on the bait better — it’s more of a solid silhouette.

> Cover: “The #1 key is don’t be afraid to throw it in cover where you normally wouldn’t throw a bait. It’s weedless so it won’t get hung up, and a lot of times fish are lying in those deep, dark areas. Also wood…if you don’t have any grass and there’s just a lot of wood, that works fabulous too.”

> Hookset:”Normally I set the hook as soon as I see the explosion or see the fish take the bait. Sometimes as soon as they bite it, you hit them and it’s down their throat so there’s no sense in waiting. A lot of times they come up and swipe at it, or hit it and miss it. That has nothing to do with the frog or the hookset — they just miss it.”

Of course he’s all about the SPRO Bronzeye….

Quote of the Day

“I was running an old Skeeter boat and I had to keep drilling holes in the side to reattach the rub rails.”

Boom Boom “Fred” Roumbanis, talkin’ ’bout his old rig when he was strugglin’ to make it, from a good Bassin’Fan post. He still loves him some Taco Bell tho….

Shot of the Day

Not sure what happened to Pete Ponds but wow:


Arby’s rolls out the “marrot.”

Started a new trend, opposite of stuff like veggie burgers:

> “Plant-based meats are the latest incarnation of making vegetables look like what Americans really want — which is great, tasty meat. …we said if others can make meat out of vegetables, why can’t we make vegetables out of meat?”

If you don’t have a tear in your eye right now, don’t know what’ll do it. Man, who doesn’t love America….

Guessin’ the marrot definitely woulda won somethin’ at ICAST.

Ya got me
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

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